Let’s do the Time (and Space) Warp(s) again…

Back when we were immersed in Antony and Cleopatra, I discussed the time and space jumps we get in that play. And Pericles presents the same challenges only more so.

At least in Antony and Cleopatra, we understood–more or less–the difference between Rome and Egypt in both culture and geography. Sure, there was that battle in between, but that truly felt like some nether-region, generic, and apart from the two main locales. And yes, there were gaps in time, but the way the play played it out, it didn’t feel that way.

But Pericles?

We really do feel that fourteen year jump, mainly because Gower tells us of the passage of time (though specifics don’t come until much later and out of the mouth of Pericles himself). That’s a huge chunk of time. I’m assuming you pretty much have to put the intermission at the end of Act Three. [I suppose you could split Gower’s Act Four chorus…but I’m not sure how effective that would be…]

And as for geography?

It doesn’t even open in Tyre…

If you don’t count Gower and his omnipresence, the play opens in Antioch. And where is Antioch? Not as easy as “where’s Egypt?”, am I right? Then it’s off to Tyre. And where’s Tyre? Then Tarsus? Where’s that? Then Pentapolis, Ephesus, and Mytilene.

See what I mean?

They’re just names for most of us. More or less meaningless, save for being foreign, exotic, places of fiction, myth, and fantasy.

I really do need to make a map for this play…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *